Category Archives: Guest Post

Save the Dates with Wedding Paper Divas

Today I am happy to have my sister Megan Elizabeth (MEC) guest post about her beautiful STDs (save the dates, duh!) that arrived in my mailbox last week. If you missed her last post about a creative way to ask your bridesmaids or my how-to on her engagement basket – be sure to catch up on those too.

First of all, I love my Save the Dates that worked on with Wedding Paper Divas. They are beautiful and fit my wedding “theme” perfectly which is botanical meet Anthropologie in nature. They had so many beautiful options to choose from, so I had to narrow down my choices and I finally found the one.

Wedding Paper Divas gave me an experience of individuality and ease. I was allowed to customize my cards exactly how I wanted them- it originally had a chalkboard background which I really liked, but I wanted something a bit lighter to go with my natural wedding feel, and they accommodated me with simplicity and even gave me several color options for the color I was looking for. I was sent the proofs and the order was placed immediately after my approval.

You can customize fonts and size/color, although their suggestions are hard not to follow because they are done so tastefully. They also have an array of options as far as style goes- floral, rustic, modern, and nature, to name a few, which helps when searching for the perfect card for your wedding feel.

I was able to browse by brand too! Naturally, I went to the BHLDN (Anthropologie wedding line) section first and found one I loved that was in my top two, but this beauty by Jennifer Raichman took the cake!

You can also see the total suite of each card in case you want to use the design for all your wedding needs- invitations, thank you cards, place cards, etc.

Their prices are amazing too, with options to fit your budget! They offer different options for paper – thickness, type and cut (rounded, squared, etc.) and options for invite style- postcard, magnet, flat, and tri-fold. The envelopes are customizable as well, by style and color (kraft, white, gold, etc.).

And I couldn’t resist- we had to get some cute return address labels, and the beautiful options for these were endless as well.

Overall, this was honestly the perfect Save the Date experience and I couldn’t be happier with my product (and given the many compliments I’ve received, it seems my recipients agree)! Simple, efficient, customized and beautiful- adjectives that should go with every wedding planning experience.

Stayed tuned for more guest posts a la MEC as we have plenty of more wedding planning adventures to come until the Spring!

{Disclosure: Wedding Paper Divas sponsored these products and all opinions are our own.}

DIY: Rise & Shine Bachelorette Kits

TGIF! I know no one wants to talk about hangovers (or Irish flus as I call them) on a Friday but I promise this post takes a different spin on them.

Today, I’m excited to share with you another DIY guest post from my lovely sister, MEC. (If you missed her last one on bridesmaids, be sure to check it out.)

A growing trend with many bachelorette weekends has become the “hangover kit” or “survival kit” (i.e. cute little basket you put together for all the girls with goodies that will help them nurse the previous night’s decisions goodbye). Well, I just love MEC’s spin on this kit trend that she put together for her BFF’s bachelorette weekend earlier this summer.

Before we get into her deets, you must first know that MEC is the more relaxed/go-with the-flow sister and I take on the more high-strung/Type A role in our relationship. It’s a nice little balance (fire & water – aries and pisces) and she’s truly a role model of mine.  After you read below you’ll probably see why she’s taken on the nickname “yogi” or “the zen sister” by yours truly.

Rise and Shine Kit (aka a healthy hangover kit)

This is an all natural way to recover after a night of drinking on a bach weekend! I chose a small pail since the bachelorette weekend had a South Beach theme, but choose whatever you’d like! Burlap bags, gift boxes or bags, beach or tote bags, and the list goes on.. these are all great choices!

Kit Items:

  • Lara Bar: for energy and to cure hunger (made from a few, all natural ingredients)
  • Whitening Gum: to spruce up your pearly whites and cure that bad breath, the mint also helps with stomach issues/acid
  • Ginger Tea: I chose green but can be any kind, the ginger is good for your stomach and tea is great for detoxing
  • Instant Starbucks: although coffee dehydrates you, it would be fine to drink it in a small amount for a caffeine kick
  • La Croix or other Sparkling Water: this will hydrate you, and the carbonation will cure that soda craving that often hits the next morning
  • A Fun Straw: for cuteness/use for the beverages with an inspirational, ” get out of bed and fix yourself” saying. I chose- Rise and Shine!, Rejuvenate! and Refresh!
  • A Fun Napkin: for clean up
  • A Hangover Yoga Sequence: I chose a 5 min video called Hangover Recovery by Tara Stiles (my fave!). Choose something that can be easily accessed from YouTube on an iPhone. And something shorter is always best on a morning like this!

Other suggested items (for larger kits):

  • Coconut Water: for hydration and to replace lost electrolytes
  • Pain Reliever: preferably a more natural type
  • Other snacks: crackers or nutritional bars
  • Makeup Remover Wipes
  • Stomach Settling Chewables: TUMS!

I don’t know about you but I kinda wish I had one of these handy for all post-toasting activities.  Hopefully this inspires you if you’re in the midst of planning a bachelorette weekend yourself or just in need of a new & healthy hungover harriett cure!

Be sure to check back soon for another MEC DIY guest post!

(I’ll give you a hint: see that cute little itinerary above?!)

AND for all the latest on H&T, follow along on InstagramFacebookTwitter & Pinterest!

DIY: Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

If you’re a bride-to-be, you’ll appreciate today’s guest post from my sister, MEC.  You might be thinking about how to ask your BFFs to be your bridesmaids and/or maid of honor to be in your wedding.

Well, I was completely in love with what my sister did while I was home for her engagement party. I just had to have her share it with you!

I surprised her on dressing shopping day with an early morning “bride to be” latte & bubbly along the way. AND she completely surprised ME with her creative way of asking me to “officially” be her MOH!

The steps for this adorable idea and accordion-like collage are below by MEC!

1. Make your signs. Be creative.

(I made “BE” “MY” “BRIDES” “MAID” “?” & “BE” “MY” “MAID” “OF” “HONOR” for BAC)

2. Take your PHOTOS! Have fun with it too!

3. Fold construction paper in half, cut down the fold and fold the cut pieces in half again. This is what you use for the booklet so create as many as you need.

4. Tape one side to the back of another and alternate. This creates a zig zag shape that’s like an accordion so it will open up!

5. Tape your photos on to the sides you want to show and voila!

It’s safe to say I’m the most honored person in the world to stand by this girl’s side on her big day next year!

MEC also had adorable gift baskets made for us all full of presents and these Kate Spade “love” rings with sweet notes inside.

 Like MEC’s posts? There’s more fun DIY ones to come!

Be sure to subscribe to H&T to get all the latest and follow along on  InstagramFacebookTwitter & Pinterest!

Wedding FAQ Part Two

Happy Friday, everyone!

If you missed yesterday’s post – check it out HERE with part one of wedding FAQ featuring the lovely ladies of Commerce Street Events.

Today, we are answering part two with questions on your maids, wedding attire and the latest trends in weddings!

Q: Should I help pay for bridesmaid dresses? Or what is an appropriate amount to ask to pay for a bridesmaid dress?

CSE: This is a tricky question, it also depends on the age of your bridesmaids. Older bridesmaids normally do not have a problem spending money on a bridesmaid dress. However, we appreciate brides who allow their bridesmaids to pick their own dress in the same color. This way the bridesmaid can determine what makes sense for her situation financially.

BAC: I don’t think most bridesmaids (when agreeing to be in your wedding party), expect you to pay for their own dresses these days. However, if something is a concern for them, they should feel comfortable enough to approach you from the beginning to come up with an appropriate solution. Being in weddings is expensive (especially as a female) and it adds up so be open to looking at options for those that might be concerned.

Q: How much should you spend on bridesmaid gifts?

CSE: Depending on the number of bridesmaids, we normally say $100-200 is a good price point.  This is enough to show bridesmaids they are loved without breaking the bank.

BAC: Agree – I love when these are presented at bridesmaids luncheons (traditionally held the day before or day of the rehearsal dinner).

Q: Should I get my parents a gift for helping financially with wedding?

CSE: This is a thoughtful gesture we recommend. Instead of thinking in dollar amounts we suggest something that will be sentimental to the parents such as a handwritten note or a monogrammed handkerchief.

BAC: Absolutely. Whether it’s a handwritten note or small gift, a sentimental gesture goes a long way and something they will be sure to remember too on your special day.

Q: What is appropriate attire for a 4pm wedding vs a 6pm wedding?

CSE: There are a lot of variables in the attire based on the venue and the couple. Traditionally, a 4pm wedding is more causal and shorter dresses are proper. A 6pm wedding is more formal and unless other wise noted on the invitation should include a long dress.

BAC: If there is no direction on the invitation, and often times there is not, I would go with the rule above. However, if Black Tie is clearly stated – please follow the rules.

Q: For CSE, Should I hire a videographer?

CSE: YES! YES! YES! Many of our brides regret not hiring a videographer. Not only do you get a short video from the wedding day, but you will also receive all of the coverage from the day. This is great to have to watch on first year anniversary or when you want to remember the day.

 Q: Is it appropriate to post pictures on social media before the professional photographer posts pictures? 

CSE: This is a decision for the couple. Some couples love to see pictures on social media others prefer to wait for professional images. However, it is extremely improper to post a picture of the bride in her dress getting ready before she walks down the aisle.

BAC: I think it depends on the couple as well. I’ve read a lot lately about “unplugged” weddings or social media bans. Personally, I’m not sure a ban all together is necessary. I love when wedding weekends have ## and signs (bet you could of guessed this one). But I will say one thing, I do not like it went there’s iPhones and cameras out in a church or during a ceremony or while the bride and/or groom walk up or down the aisle. If creates for photos like THESE and I think this is a time when the professionals should do their job and capture the best moments.

Q:  And Finally, for CSE, What are the most popular trends in weddings you’re putting on? What’s in? What’s out? What’s next?

CSE: What’s in: Rustic Elegance, Multiple Shades of a Color Palate, Bohemian Chic, Lucite Decor, Family Style Reception Dining, and “Naked” Cakes.

What’s out: Colored Sashes for the Bride, Traditional Rules for Every Aspect of a Wedding, and Boring Mothers of the Bride or Groom Dresses

What’s Next: Jewel Tone Color Palates, Pastel Colored Wedding Dresses, Wedding Week Celebrations (instead of just a wedding day), and Nashville Destination Weddings!

Should we do a part three? Let us know & send your questions my way!

{All Images via Commerce Street Events}

Wedding FAQ Part One

As I mentioned in my Engagement Basket post back in February, I am in the midst of planning my sister’s wedding while also serving as the Maid of Honor (busy busy!).

That is why I was also so excited when Commerce Street Events reached out to me about a partnership with H&T (we have a few fun things in the works – stay tuned!).

Commerce Street Events is an event planning company based out of Nashville. They specialize in events on every scale – galas, corporate meetings, dinner parties and of course, WEDDINGS! They handle everything from concept and design to execution so that their clients can fully enjoy “toast” (or celebrate) any occasion.

The ladies of CSE and I got together a list of wedding FAQs that often come up when planning and share our answers below. Like me, they are a little superstitious! If you’re newly engaged or in the midst of planning, hopefully these will help too.

Q#1: For CSE, What are the differences between hiring a day-of coordinator vs. full service wedding planner? 

CSE: Day of Coordinator – Pros: Day of coordinators are generally less expensive than full service planners. The bride can plan everything on her own, and not worry about another person assisting in the process. Cons: Day of coordinators may not know the couple very well. They may not understand the bride’s vision as well. Also, they also may not be acquainted with the vendors involved.

Full Service –  Pros: The bride has an advocate during the entire process for questions involving etiquette, vendors, and logistics. There is less stress involved for the bride and she can enjoy the season of being engaged.  Cons: Full service planners will cost more. Their vision may be different than the brides for the wedding.

Q #2: How far in advance should Save-the-Dates go out vs. actual invitations?

CSE: Save the Dates should go out at least three months before the wedding. We suggest sending earlier if you have out of town guests. Formal invitations should be sent six weeks in advance. If your wedding falls during a holiday season, you may need to alter your timeline to allow more time.

BAC: They are the experts! But I think out of town guests (since I normally am one) enjoy having more notice.

Q#3: For CSE, What is the proper way to do the wording of a wedding invitation? How do you do this with divorced parents, etc?

 CSE: This is always a tricky situation. The traditional wording for divorced parents if they are hosting the wedding together is the mother’s name first then the father’s name with a line between the two. A non traditional way to handle the wording is use the term “together with their families”. I personally love the “together with their families” wording. It is a celebration of both families and it not putting the attention on the parents but rather on the couple.

Q#4: What is the proper etiquette for giving a “plus one”? How you decide who to give this to?

CSE: Guests that are engaged or married should obviously be given a plus one for their spouse or fiancé. If you have the space and means to add plus ones for everyone, then we suggest doing so. However, you should allow $100 for food and beverages per person. If you are limited on space and means, the cut off we normally suggest is serious relationships only.

BAC: I think CSE has this covered. Although I would add, anyone in a wedding party (bride or groom side) should be given a “plus one” regardless of relationship status.

Q.#5 How do you determine children at a wedding? Is it appropriate to cut off at a certain age or what are the best guidelines when inviting family and friends who have kids?

CSE: Technically, unless the child’s name is included on the inner envelope they are not invited. It is only proper to include the parent’s names on the outer envelope. The best way to spread whether children are invited to a wedding is word of month. If it is an evening wedding, guests should assume children are not invited enjoy a nice night away. The ages allowed should be determined by the couple and the type of wedding. If a bride includes small children on her guest list or has members of the bridal party with children, we suggest hiring a babysitter for the day.

BAC: I think it’s also important to remember, if you have a large family with lots of cousins and babies, sit down and think about how you want to handle that and the guest list numbers.

Q# 6: What are the general rules for how to decide who to invite to a rehearsal dinner (aside from the wedding party)? Out of town guests?

CSE: This all depends on the budget, but there are several options. If you have multiple out of town guests coming to the wedding, we suggest a welcome dinner instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner. There is also the option of doing a traditional rehearsal dinner (bridal party and close family only) then inviting out of town guests to a cocktail hour before or after the dinner. If the budget allows, we always suggest inviting out of town guests to the rehearsal. These guests are spending money to come to your wedding and it very hospitable to invite them.

BAC: I love the idea of a “welcome party”. I’ve attend several weddings as an out of town guest over the past few years and even if I was not invited to the rehearsal dinner, this party was something that took place post dinner and I found to be extremely inviting and fun!

 Q#7: What are some creative ways or suggestions when you don’t want to have a sit down dinner?

CSE: We love stations, this allows the chef to get very creative with design and for the guests to experience different foods. Chef’s tables are a unique idea for brides who are food lovers and want the chef to be more involved. For a more causal experience, some brides opt for food trucks.

BAC: Food and presentation at any event is obviously a favorite of mine. I think you can get creative with heavy passed bites during cocktail hours and family style dinners too.

Q #8: What should be at the top of your list when registering? Can you only register for “household” items or what are the rules here?

CSE: For registries, anything goes in today’s weddings. Since people are getting married later in life, some couples already have their homes and kitchens furnished. Several of our brides in the past have asked for money for honeymoons or will ask for donations for their favorite charity in lieu of traditional registries.  As far as trends go, it is very common to include the groom’s wants and needs in the registry not just fine china. We have even had couples register at target and sporting good stores. We also ask our brides to include several price points in their registry to accommodate all of their guests.

BAC: Again, CSE is the expert here. I think all the above is true and it’s probably important to have a few options in terms of stores to fit the needs of all your guests and their gift budgets.

Q#9: When it comes to monograms and their usage – what is “bad luck?” What are the traditional rules for this before, after and during the wedding? Invites, programs, showers, robes during the “getting ready?”

CSE: Traditionally, couple monograms are not appropriate until after the couple is officially married. This means you can have couple monograms at the reception, but not at the ceremony. However, in today’s wedding world, there are not as many rules. If the bride is comfortable with using a couple monogram and is not superstitious it is not as much of a faux pas. Personally, I am not a fan of bad luck, especially on such an important day so I would go the traditional route.

BAC: Agree on this one! No new monogram until marriage – post ceremony only is my opinion. I think that “monograms and mimosas”  bridal showers are wonderful – just don’t use any of those gifted items until after the “I Dos”. I’m a little old fashioned/opinionated on this one so no worries,  I know others who strongly disagree.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two featuring questions on your maids, wedding attire and new wedding trends!

{All Images via Commerce Street Events}